Ekula – Somebody Say EP [HTRD010]

As one half of Six Sunsets, Ekula secured his specific spot in the contemporary dubstep scene, through releases on trusted imprints such as Deep, Dark & Dangerous or FatKidOnFire. The duo was also responsible for some of 2018’s most distinctive tunes, be it the sparse arpeggios of “Fever Skank VIP”, out through Banana Stand Sound, or the dynamic, trap-infused vibes of “Shatter” on Sure State. “Somebody Say” is the next step for him, or rather a sidestep: not only is the latest Heavy Traffic release his debut solo EP, it also showcases a different side of his sound, which retrospectively seems to shine a new light on his output as part of Six Sunsets.

Ekula has made no secret of the influences he gathers from the roots of dubstep, taking cues from UK garage and jungle, as well as the hybrid sounds of breakstep. These vibes come in full force on “Somebody Say”, as both original tracks display different interpretations of these roots within a modern dubstep frameset. “Somebody Say”, the title-track, is an impressive number, which definitely stands out as one of the best and most unique tunes released in the last few months. The build-up nears two minutes, with stretched out breakbeats, classic vocal samples and esoteric flutes leading the way to a rising wobbley bass, all of which finally come together and explode into an ‘06 Loefah-type banger. “Somebody Says” appears to melt hip-hop vibes, slowed breaks and a classic dubstep vibe, while still remaining firmly 2018-sounding. If mixed properly, it sounds like it could also kill a dancefloor within adventurous 140BPM explorations.

While “Motions”, the second original track, may seem more usual, it comes from the same reference points: the distant echoes of dark garage resound in layered percussion works, giving the track its flowy dynamics. The bass is fittingly intense, sitting at the core of the tune, adding pressure to the production. Though it doesn’t show in the same way as “Somebody Say”, “Motions” also proves to be a patient construction, as the whole track seems to finally come forward in its latter half, with the rhythm pattern reconfiguring into a proper breakbeat, once more bringing us into more hybrid territories.

The release is rounded up by a trappy revision of “Somebody Say”, courtesy of Cella Records’ Turner. While the track might be more traditional, fitting current dubstep trends, it also retains the appeal of the original tune and lets us catch a glimpse of its vibes in a different way. A melodic and driving number, it also opens paths towards the modern grime scene, and as such acts as a great conclusion to an EP that succeeds in its stylistic openness.

Somebody Say is out now and available from all digital stores.

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